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October 27 - December 29, 2018
Opening Reception: Saturday, October 27, 5:30 - 8:00pm
Artist Talk: Sunday, December 9, 4pm

The Philosopher’s Clothes

Vittoria Chierici

Curated by Jennifer Bacon

This exhibition presents large paintings that are part of a series that Vittoria Chierici dedicated to Raphael’s School of Athens. The philosophers and mathematicians represented in the original fresco -  ordered by Pope Julius II for Raphael to execute and located in the Stanza della Segnaturainside the Vatican Apostolic Palaces - cover many centuries ranging from 600 BC until approximately 1100 and a geographic area that includes Athens, Alexandria of Egypt, Cordoba and ancient Persia. Raphael made the most illustrious protagonists of ancient culture, the same ones that make up the lifeblood of the Renaissance, dialogue with each other, eliminating the differences of origin.  The theme is linked to a sort of ideal arrangement and order of humanistic culture, in a scenographic perspective reminiscent of the internal space of the ancient basilicas,. 

The series of paintings entitled The Philosophers Clothes by Vittoria Chierici is an interpretation describing the characters of the original fresco in their theatricality. The artist has carefully studied the history of the fresco, the characters and the environment that contains them, imagining conversations, disputes and individual thoughts. On the surface, the colored tunics that dress the characters and adhere to their postures, constitute a composition of colors and shapes that, isolated, become abstract. Regarded mindfully you will notice that these abstract shapes keep the expressiveness of the characters interacting in the scenes that Vittoria Chierici has set in place. It is as if the clothes themselves were animated, as if the tunics were alive and speaking, with no obligation of resemblance, without debt of allusiveness.

The abstract forms that derive from the cutouts of the tunics and give the title to the project, The Philosophers Clothes, allow paths of extreme freedom in the use of gesture and painting techniques. The narrative ability of Chierici, already expressed in preceding pictorial series - from the stars to the coca colas, from the black madonnas to the soldiers, the battles, the flowers, the seas - derives in substantial part from cinematographic practice and professional experience; loved, studied and practiced by the artist behind the camera. The theatricality is derived from photograms in series, the idea of a still image in motion, and in this extraordinary new series has successfully managed to refine her style even more.

About the Artist

Vittoria Chierici earned her M.A. at DAMS in the University of Bologna. After graduation, she attended the University of California at Berkeley and then Columbia University in New York. She took courses in photography and cinematography at the Parsons School of Design and at the School of Visual Arts in New York and received a diploma in filmmaking from the New York Film Academy. Since 1984 she has been exhibiting extensively in Italy and abroad. In 1989 she was selected to represent Italy in the Tokyo exhibition Seven Artists which then traveled to exhibitions in London, Buenos Aires and Madrid. In 1995 she shot two short films: Street Fight and One’s Case. In 1997 she started a series of works titled The Missing Leonardo, completed in 2005 and shown the same year at Esso Gallery in New York; the series is a provocative reconstruction of Leonardo Da Vinci’s lost fresco La Battaglia di Anghiari.  In 2008 she collaborated with the composer Eve Beglarian and editor Phil Hartley, for the production of the film, Wolf Chaser, related to her Energy Project begun in 2004. Chierici’s interest in the representation of movement continued in 2006 when she began to work with the dancers Amanda Kirschner, Elisabeth de Ment, Miguel Anaya, and the choreographer Liz Gerring creating the set designs for Montauk, which premiered Baryshnikov Art Center, in New York in February 2009.  In 2012, she produced the art-film, Luci in the Sky, with original music by Ana Milosavljevic and cinematography by Yuko Takebe. In the same year she began a project based on sea travel on a cargo ship from Europe to America, Sailing Away to Paint the Sea. 


Thursday through Sunday, 1pm to 6pm; or by appointment. 


Take 2, 3, or 4 trains to Franklin Avenue. Walk two blocks against the traffic on Franklin. Walk ¾ block to 558 St. Johns Place. FiveMyles is within easy walking distance from the Brooklyn Museum.


FiveMyles is in part supported by the New York State Council for the Arts, Public Funds from the New York City Dept. of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, Council Member Laurie Cumbo, the Greenwich Collection, The Jacques and Natasha Gelman Foundation, the Lily Auchincloss Foundation, the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. The panel discussion is made possible thanks to a Humanities NY Action Grant.